Category Archives: Domum

Homeward-towards a Christian home.

And…we’re back

Re-opening the blog attempt #…

yeah, I don’t know either.

The whole keeping-up-frequent-posts-with-no-home-internet thing is a bit of a drag.  It requires discipline.  Which I sometimes lack.

But here goes again, anyway.

I went to my first writer’s conference this weekend.  The Louisiana-Mississippi region of SCBWI held its first ever KidLit conference Saturday at Sacred Heart Academy in New Orleans.  It was lovely.

The take-away:  Write for yourself, revise for your readers.  Thank you, Cheryl Klein.  

We also got to meet Angie Thomas, four days after her debut novel The Hate U Give hit #1 on the NY Times bestseller list.  Needless to say, she was glowing.  Though I suspect that is usual for her.  She was definitely an inspiration.  Yes, I bought the book.  No, I haven’t read it yet.  Really have to finish Octavian Nothing Part II before I take on anything else.  And that may be a while.  

I also got to meet Carrel Muller, who is the lower school librarian at Sacred Heart.  I want my girls to go to school there so she can be their librarian.  She is lovely!  She convinced me I need to go back and fill in all the holes in my folklore and mythology education.  And read do the same with my kids.  She also read a piece of mine (in the First Look part of the program where they read and critique the openings of several submissions), and it was exactly as I would dream of a children’s librarian reading it to little ones.  So that was a very cool moment.  Now if I can just convince someone out there to publish it…

Right.  So on that note, I could use prayers for persistence – to keep showing up at the page, and to keep sending things out, despite the piles of rejections.  Blah.

For those of you who are here less for the minutiae of my writing life, and more for cute baby stories, the lovely children are well.  I’ve picked up two Latin classes at JPG in the mornings, so they are spending the mornings with a friend and coming home for lunch, naps, etc. in the afternoons.

Just through May.  If the headmaster asks, you can assure him I still do not want to come on full time next year.  This experience has been a good reminder of where I want to be.  Home.  Period.  Which, of course, includes the library and the park.  But mostly home.

I thought our chickens had stopped laying, but it turns out they laid all their eggs in the bushes for a while.  Under the blackberry brambles, to be precise.  We found 24 one day, and 7 the next.  We have three chickens.  Three eggs a day, at best.  So it was a jubilee.  They seem to have figured out the purpose of the nesting boxes again, though.  Which is easier, but less exciting.  You can’t have everything, I guess.

We planted some vegetables and flowers last weekend.  (Thanks to Fr. Sam for the seeds!  The wildflower bed is well on it’s way!)  Hopefully there will be pictures…when I get better at technology.  Maybe next spring.  
Book of the week: This Is Not My Hat by John Klassen.  Hilarious.  It should be used in film classes as a study in dramatic irony, and in writers’ workshops as and example of how the pictures and text work together.  No redundancy – each does its own part towards a flawlessly integrated whole.  And it’s soooo funny.

I hope that there will be more posts soon.   And that is not intended as ironic, but whether it is or not remains to be seen.

Moving Tip #3

Have awesome friends.  We have some pretty fantastic friends. We made a few trips with the pick-up ahead of time, but our friends showed up Saturday morning with a fleet of minivans (and one awesome trailer) and we moved a house full of stuff in two runs. By lunchtime, we were taking a break and deciding where bookshelves should be planted. Our friends cleared the forgotten corners of closetrs, put together our massive dining room table, and didn’t complain about lugging our mountains of junk. They were jpyfdul and encouraging, and even offered to come back for more later in the week. Best moving asset: friends looks ours.

Moving Tip #2

Mark your boxes with crayon instead of marker. I love my Sharpies, of course, but crayons work beautifully (and you get to see the interesting texture of the cardboard) and marauding two-year-olds can’t use them on furniture. At least, not as easily as a marker. And if you’re like me, it’s easier to find a broken crayon on the floor than your one functional Sharpie, which you put in a “safe” place.

Cheapskate Moving Tip #1:

Best place for free boxes:  the hoppers outside Dollar General.  Other dollar stores run a close second.

“Wait,” you might be thinking, “did I accidentally go to a blog about how to change residences on a budget?”

No, you are still at the blog about my thrilling life.  But we’re moving, hence today’s topic.  The wild experiment of two (and then three) families living in one house is coming to an end, and we will have our own place again.

I’ve not been writing much lately, so now you may be thinking, “That is a wild experiment!  Why didn’t I know about this?”

Honestly, there has been surprisingly little to write.  I’m hoping to have some reflections, which may or may not be worthy of sharing, after I’ve had some time to reflect.  Right now, it’s all about the boxes.  And the Clorox ones are the perfect size for two stacks of trade-size books.  No lie – best discovery, after the box hoppers, of the week.  Since books are literally somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of our non-furniture possessions.

Only downside to these boxes: we snagged some that had dryer sheets or laundry detergent or something in them, and the back of the truck and the house now smell like whatever fake perfumey stuff some people use on their clothes.  It is not a smell I would want to spend the day with.  But hey, the boxes were free.

Squashing guilt

A true confession: we were given two spaghetti squash by a friend from church months ago.  I dutifully cooked one right away, very simply, and I’m sorry to say, most of it ended up in the trash.  The other squash has been waiting very patiently in the onion-and-garlic bowl ever since, tossing me sad, neglected looks almost daily. 
But then…I found this recipe:
http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/01/baked-spaghetti-squash-and-cheese.html
Now I will admit, I did not make it with low-fat anything, but otherwise followed the recipe with my more calorific ingredients.  It was wonderful!  Goodbye unused squash guilt.  So in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation, try this.  Or go buy a spaghetti squash and try it.  I never thought I’d hear myself say that, but there it is.  It was that good.

Bread is never just bread

So I’ve been doing most of my own baking for a few months now (hard to justify the expense of inferior store-bread, when I’m just at home all day doing, well, you know…at-home things).  And as I was clearing up lunch yesterday, including Lucy’s half-eaten sandwich, it occurred to me that I was somewhat offended that she would blithely toss out a whole slice of the bread I had kneaded by hand the day before.  How dare she be so wasteful of my hard work!
Which got me thinking, of course, about how much food we throw away in our family, and in this country in general, and how little it concerns us.  And how much the great distance (both physical and psychological – do you think about the provenance of that beef?) between us and the source and manufacture of our food has to do with this lack of interest in the end that meets so much of our food.  (Today’s Latin lesson – manufacture = “made by hand”- how often is that true of anything anymore?)
What real connection do I have to that fast food hamburger, or even to the canned soup I merely heat up for dinner?  I rarely think twice about clearing those leftovers from the fridge to the trash can.  But it seems that the more involved I am in where my food comes from, the closer I am to the “ground” of the process, the more meaningful eating, really being nourished by my food is.  And the more I care how it is used.  Or not, as the case may be.
Another argument for slow food and the simple life, I guess.  Add it to the pile.  Maybe we’ll actually get close to those ideals some day!
And, all moralizing aside, at least I’m starting to make some really good bread.

New things

We have had a lot going on, so I thought it was past time for an update. We moved,finally, just before New Year’s. So we’re in an apartment in Baton Rouge and friends of ours are renting the house in Marrero. Not as good as sellng, but much better than living in two different cities. We have not gotten a washing machine yet, though, so we’re still imposing on Craig’s parent’s hospitality for that. The girls are starting ballet. Lucy’s first class was lastnightand Samantha starts later this morning. Lucy really enjoyed it and did very well, I thought. We’ll see how Samantha does. She im not as eager to follow directions as Lucy is. 🙂
Clare has been busy. She signed her first word at dinner yesterday, “more”. She wants to eat everything. She is also making a lot of progress standing on her own – and she likes to throw her head back and wave her arms around and roar, “Look at me!” And she wants to help put her clothes on, so she spends half the day trying toput different things on her head – socks, hats, hair ties, blankets, you get the idea. And she’awake now, so I guess I’m done.

Earth Bag Houses

For those of you we haven’t talked to in a while, this is our plan for the next several years.  Why would we want to do this, you might wonder?  Let’s just say we’re tired of spending $400 to fix our AC, and $300 for plumbing, and lining banker’s pockets with our mortgage interest, and wasting energy, water, building materials…it’s a long list.  But go check it out:

http://www.earthbagbuilding.com/

The hope is, once we sell this house, to get some land probably in Livingston Parish (between N.O. and Baton Rouse) and get to building.  If you know anyone looking to move to Marrero, let us know!

Termite Invasion III

I hate this time of year.  The termites are swarming, and a few always manage to make it into the house, which is gross in itself, but sends the girls into a panic.  We’ll see if we sleep tonight.

A Photo Update…I hope

Let’s see how far I get with this – we’ve been too busy living to spend time writing about living lately!  So here’s what I’ve got saved up…

According to my camera, this is from last June.  But I think the date is wrong, and it was actually October.  Either way, it’s been a while since I went through the pics on the camera!

Here is the little altar I put together for the Day of the Dead.  Mom’s only in the picture because it was the best/most easily accessible one I had of Dad.  The had and cookbook are my grandmothers (Eva Krivanek), gum drops were one of my other grandmother’s favorite treats (Margaret Courtney).  The box and frog puzzle my dad made, and the peanuts were one of his favorite snacks.  The rosary was also Grandma Krivanek’s, and the little pictures on the right are of me with my grandmothers.  That was all I could dig up at the last minute when I did this, but I’ll be a little more prepared this year (if the things aren’t still in storage!  More on that in a later post…)

This was in November.  One of them was confused about the weather forecast.  If I remember right, it was Samantha.

They take good care of each other…

…and Pooh Bear.

The nativity set the girls played with.  They’re taking a nap while they wait for baby Jesus.

The meltdowns have begun, so I’ll have to finish this later.